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Experts challenge regional governments to use pension funds for industrialisation

Experts challenge regional governments to use pension funds for industrialisation
Photo credit: The Post

23 Mar 2016

Southern Africa economic experts have challenged governments in the region to explore the viability of pension funds, financial services levies and sovereign wealth funds in financing industrial infrastructure and key commodity value chains.

According to a statement issued in Malawi on Friday at the close of the 22nd Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) Meeting of Southern Africa, co-organised by the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa-Southern Africa Office and the Government of Malawi under the theme “Implementing the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap: Options and Prospects”, the experts implored governments to also introduce a levy on payroll to fund skills development.

“Governments in the region must explore the viability of pension funds, financial services levies and sovereign wealth funds in financing industrial infrastructure and key commodity value chains,” read the statement.

“Governments must utilise opportunities provided through the Regional Development Fund; they must mobilise resources towards implementing identified strategy priorities and accord priority to science, technology and innovation in national and regional programmes as the major catalyst for industrialisation.”

It was agreed that governments should identify, through research, the value chains of focus and target those for which the region had comparative advantage such as the cotton, beef, diamonds value chains as well as ratify the science, technology and innovation protocol.

They challenged governments to create an enabling environment to facilitate the active private sector participation in industrialisation.

“Governments in the region should develop and implement targeted policies to increase the participation of small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the economy and institutions providing finance for industrialisation should be configured to support SMEs; and stakeholders such as member states, civil society, regional economic communities (RECs) and development partners should advocate and promote the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap,” the experts stated.

On capacity issues, member states were asked to strengthen technical capacity within relevant ministries and government institutions; share knowledge and expertise including through secondment of officials among countries; develop capacity around specific sectoral chains and dialogue with relevant stakeholders such as the private, training institutions and development partners.

“Governments must include industrialisation as a key learning and development area in the education curriculum as part of the advocacy process. RECs, also should restructure and create technical expertise in mineral processing to enhance regional coordination of minerals sector development,” stated the experts.

“RECs must also build internal capacity to be able to provide the necessary leadership to drive the industrialisation process; they should organise comprehensive regional capacity building programmes for value chain identification, analysis and development among the public and private sectors and identify and develop concrete projects of a regional nature to kick-start the industrialisation process among others.”

Author Abel Mboozi
Source The Post
Website Visit website
Date 23 Mar 2016
 
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